nic & sloy: side by side

November 4, 2017 – January 28, 2018

Study Gallery and Print Study Center

Salem artists Dave and Sandra Nichols (under the pseudonyms “nic” and “sloy”) create new interpretations of archaic myths and customs from combinations of found objects and fragments of language. Organized by Director John Olbrantz, the exhibition features a range of works by the artists, including cardboard constructions by Nichols, and text drawings and canvas objects by Loy.

The Nichols' artistic journey began in the late 1970s when they met at Chemeketa Community College where Dave was a student and Sandra was on the faculty teaching English and creative writing. Over the past thirty-five years, this husband and wife team (using the pseudonyms “nic” and “sloy”) have transformed their playful love of art into highly inventive and imaginative artworks formed from combinations of found objects and fragments of language.

Olbrantz says, “Dave’s intricately cut and imaginatively reconstructed sculptures made of recycled cardboard are masterpieces of precision and detail, while his drawings, jewelry, games, musical instruments, and puzzles made from recycled materials reflect a creative and supremely imaginative mind, while Sandra’s work has elevated the written word to the status of fine or visual art.”

Dave was born in Salem, Oregon, in 1947 and has lived most of his life here. He took courses in life drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics at Chemeketa Community College in the late 1970s but is mostly a self-taught, multidisciplinary artist. His brilliantly colored paintings are based on old photographs of his family and friends, at once contemporary in their materials yet nostalgic in their subject matter.

Sandra was born in Bellingham, Washington, in 1943 and raised in Everett, some sixty miles to the south. She received her BS and MAT degrees at Western Oregon University in English and Education, respectively, and her MFA degree from the University of Oregon in writing poetry. She taught at Chemeketa Community College for many years and is the author of several books of poetry and a college textbook. For many years Sandra wrote poetry and poetic fiction, but in the early 1990s began to make drawings and paintings based on words, phrases, and text configured into patterns.

Over the years, Dave and Sandra have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Oregon and Washington, including the Bush Barn Art Center, Chemeketa Community College Art Gallery, the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, among others. In addition, their artworks can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States, including the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami, Florida, and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. In 2016, a large body of their personal archival material was transferred to the Pacific Northwest Artists Archives, located in the Mark O. Hatfield Library at Willamette University.


Related Events

Members Reception
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 5 - 7 p.m.
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Members and invited guests only

Museum Members and Museum Invited Guests: complimentary
Non-members: $5 per person at the door
New Members: are welcome to join at the event or online

Or by phone at 503-370-6855 or by email at

Tuesday Gallery Talks

Join docents at the museum for a guided tour of the exhibition. Tours commence at 12:30 p.m. in the Maribeth Collins Lobby at the museum.
Free and open to the public

  • November 21: led by Bob Muir
  • December 5: led by Sandy Resis


Financial Support

Financial support for the exhibition was provided by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

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